Australian Newsagency Blog

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What can magazine publishers and or magazine distributors do to stop newsagents early returning magazines?

Mark Fletcher
August 14th, 2014 · 9 Comments

I asked this question as part of my early returns survey this past weekend. Here are all the responses – from survey participants, not me – to this question exactly as entered except for some spelling corrected. The sequence is that in which they were entered by newsagents with response #144 being the first.

Magazine publishers and distributors this is for you. Newsagents want one thing – fair supply based on sales data. That’s not hard at all. If you value us as a channel you will listen and respond.

  1. Be quicker to cancel mags.  Be quicker to provide new mags when a customer wants one. At times I have had to wait for the2nd issue and of course, by then the customer buys a subscription online.  I should be able to cancel non performing titles even if their system says I have sold 1 copy!  Big deal.  Shez – that 1 sale the person could have moved away, or anything yet I am TOLD I have to carry it for months and beyond because of 1 lousy sale!
  2. Don’t supply us with magazines we don’t need – Please check sales data ! SIMPLE !
  3. Supply quantities based on sales
  4. Not send new titles without us opting in. We are a small newsagency in a country town, we know our clientele, there are some titles that will not sell.
  5. USE SALES DATA MORE EFFECTIVELY. ALSO IPS IS RIDICULOUS ABOUT RETURNS AND SENDS IRRELEVANT MAGAZINES JUST ONE EXAMPLE IS OFFICE CONCEPT ONE OF MANY
  6. Supply reasonable quantities
  7. Stop sending crap that doesn’t sell and start using xchangeit for what it was designed for. I done see why I should become their banker and warehouse.
  8. Supply amounts using far more up to date sales data
  9. Invoice me for sales per my POS/XchangeIT systems and eliminate returns entirely.
  10. Stop sending so much rubbish!!!
  11. Stop over supply
  12. I know what i want so let me set my own titles and amounts. It is that easy!
  13. Trust us to set our own supply quantities
  14. Start using their sales data in a constructive way
  15. Start using the data from XchangeIT that they insist we provide them
  16. Stop over supplying.
  17. I WILL CONTINUE TO EARLY RETURN AS IT ALLOWS US TO RESPOND QUICKLY TO CHANGES IN CUSTOMER TRAFFIC IE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS, LOCAL FESTIVALS REQUIRE MORE STOCK , SUMMER MONTHS, QUIET PERIODS REQUIRE MUCH LESS. WITHOUT EARLY RETURNS THERE IS A LARGE FLUCTUATION IN MAGAZINE BILLS WHICH MAKES CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT DIFFICULT
  18. Use the sales data they make us pay to give them properly
  19. Get serious about sales data! I am sick and tired of this massive oversupply issue; particularly when my sales data clearly shows what i need.
  20. Stop over supplying
  21. Supply sensible quantities …. Not have two or more issues expected to be on sale at any time ie in motoring and craftwork… work with us not against us
  22. Send the right amount. Send at beginning of month. Use SBR correctly. Ensure magazines aren’t to thick. Do not add FREE mags and ridiculous giveaways that cant be placed on the shelf.
  23. DON’T OVERSUPPLY. ALLOW ME TO SET MY SUPPLY AND GIVE ME AN OPTION TO RECEIVE NEW TITLES NOT JUST DUMP THEM ON ME.
  24. Consult with us & allow us to select titles.
  25. SUPPLY BASED ON PREVIOUS SALES
  26. Allow newsagents that are keen to build their business make these important decisions.  If a newsagent has registered  (at cost!) to XchangeIT then charge us for what we sell.  No need to process returns  must be some recognition for newsagents who are compliant and try hard!!!!
  27. Use our sales data
  28. Delay billing for all on sale period, select the titles and qty ourselves
  29. Send me 1.5 times my average sale and no more.
  30. Allow 60 days trading terms.
  31. Correct use of my sales data
  32. Use the data that is supplied to get it RIGHT!
  33. I want the titles I sell in the volumes I sell plus a few extra, with the ability to adjust these figures up and down based on MY needs.  The day we get fair control over the stock we receive and therefore become liable for is the day we can concentrate on selling, rather than managing, the stock we receive.  Sadly, I dont believe we will ever see magazine supply on a basis that is fair to newsagents.
  34. Stop over supplying so I can give new titles the attention they need..  Dismantle distributors and replace with on-line software and new distribution centre based on standing orders and orders placed by newsagencies..  Perhaps a pilot
  35. Stop sending us magazines that records show don’t sell. Stop sending us summer quantities in winter.(We are coastal).Unfortunately they also do vice versa
  36. Manage supply using sales data and take notice of my supply changes.
  37. Timing of supply is a factor.  If we are oversupplied on the last delivery day of the month titles risk being returned for cash flow reasons.
  38. Do not send plenty different magazines in same categories.
  39. Current system suits me so long as I retain the choice to early return.
  40. use the data we send them DAILY to set realistic supply levels. We are evolving and adapting, I see no evidence they are adjusting their behavior. While we are paid on sales and them on distribution – why would they?
  41. I also early return magazines that:    Have just been replaced by the new issue but still have a return date 3 weeks (or more) in the future.    Are redistributions of previously issued titles that sold poorly the first (or second, or more) time around.
  42. Supply more appropriately according to my sales history and the size of my magazine space, not how much you have in the warehouse.
  43. USE THE AVERAGE SALES DATA THEY COLLECT
  44. Don’t oversupply and don’t send me titles my business has no interest in
  45. Use the data supplied through XchangeIT to determine quantities.
  46. Look at past Sales figures.   Don’t send new tittles unless requested. Tell us about them but don’t send them.
  47. Use sales data for allocation decisions.
  48. All new titles or new to store must be approved and quantity set by retailer otherwise face high chance if early return.
  49. Look at the data we send them everyday….simple. Or let us set our own standing orders without change ie. Take 5 unless we change it due to seasons etc. We all know how many of the weekly and main monthly titles we need.
  50. Supply levels which accurately reflect historical sales
  51. Treat us equally
  52. Give us control of what we want in our shop.
  53. Align allocations to sales.
  54. Stop sending totally unsuitable speculative titles and oversupplying regular titles.
  55. Provide sensible quantities of titles in line with actual sales. Be mindful of our stores geographical location when allocating titles.
  56. Ask if I’m interesting in new titles or trying different titles ask how many I require
  57. Increase margin to 45 %
  58. Stop sending us a ridiculous amount of stock. At least 60% of magazines we receive are returned unsold.
  59. Allow us actual control over our supplies. We don’t mind extras of certain titles as id rather have more then not enough. But not on every single title, If i sell 1 magazine of a certain title for 20 issues in a row, odds are I’m not going to sell the 12 I’m sent this month.
  60. stop sending mags just because they can, trying to wear you down
  61. Allow their websites to reduce qtys to zero. Stop dumping irrelevant titles. Dont restart titles we have stopped.
  62. base supply on actual usage plus a small margin, part series are the direct opposite problem. Too few after parts 1 & 2.
  63. Realise that for both parties to optimise sales they must treat us as equals. No one likes being stood over and bullied, especially by BOOFHEADS.
  64. Do not oversupply, use sales data to send more when only a few left, eg scoop homes annual and in particular wedding titles, AFL albums etc  Do not redistribute titles that did not work previously particularly with old stickers in bad condition  Delay all billing so we are charged once we sell the title (say on all monthlies +) just a thought…  Check before supplying a new title, don’t over supply new titles  I’d like to see decent stands supplied to position mags at front of store for the greater good of magazine health.   Should have a loyalty program solution at the individual newsagency level rather than at the channel level (a bit off point)
  65. Take notice of their precious data.
  66. Give us the appropriate amount of magazines based on sales data. For sales of non weeklies 0-6 1 extra, 7-12 2 extra. Delayed billing – if it is not going to sell, no point keeping it.
  67. Convert to consignment stock ie only pay for what we sell
  68. SUPPLY = SALES = DATA SUPPLIED
  69. Examine the sells data!
  70. Let me control supply
  71. Use previous sales figures and allocate accordingly
  72. Make supply based on sales
  73. Let me set my supply and if we sell out give us the OPTION to increase supply. ALL FOREIGN titles should only be added to supply after prior advice from the distributor and us accepting and setting quantities. Recent example a $22 American Grid Iron magazine that will not sell for us and we would have refused supply if given the opportunity but instead immediately returned it.
  74. Reasonable supply, intelligent use of SBR, don’t be afraid to sell out.
  75. Look at the sales data they have and don’t continue to supply if there are no sales
  76. Stop oversupplying magazines. As simple as that. Let me set my own supply and title ranging and stick to it. When my monthly returns are equivalent to 60% of what I receive, particularly from Bauer, then something is very very wrong.
  77. Supply realistic quantities by using the data available to them.
  78. Send more of the title we sell and over stocking us with titles that don’t sell
  79. No redistributions of old titles that look like they have come out of a rubbish bin.
  80. Supply quantities that reflect sales history.  Stop supplying irrelevant titles.  Stop delayed billing. Supply should reflect saleability of a title
  81. Use historic sales figures to determine supply numbers.  For new titles, look at how the category is performing in my outlet, and send numbers accordingly.
  82. I am a Distribution only Newsagent in SA  Simple –   1. Allow me to choose the titles and supply, with intervention only if too many returns.  2. Stop the non-sense of putting allocations back to an over-supply situation after so many weeks.  3. Cancellation of a title by myself means cancellation, not re-instatement a few months later as diarised by suppliers software system.  4. Stop the non-sense of re-instating a previously cancelled title on a 1 of basis so that when I go into your web-site to re-cancel, I don’t find that supply is zero after a one of allocation of a big number for one month only.  5. Please respect the amount of time I put into (constantly) amending allocations on your web-sites by honoring the supply figures I record there, until I make further amendments not you.  6. I am not in the slightest bit interested in delayed billing and will only consider putting new titles into Sub-agents if they fit the demographics or I consider there is the chance of a sale. We are not in the business of wall-papering Sub-agent shops for a loss-making situation that produces only expenses and no income. Seriously, don’t you get that!  7. Finally, I would like you to accept the fact that your Distribution Model is broken. Until you can do that you must accept our business relationship is somewhat at odds.     Dennis Robertson
  83. Give us better control over the allocations & the ability to order or delete titles as needed online.  The wastage of magazines and the time and rescores that goes into this part of the business is making it unprofitable!
  84. Do not over supply and send magazines that will not sell in my shop
  85. Reduce the on-sale period – No magazine needs to be onsale for more than 1 month. Don’t send massive amounts of stock at the end of the month. Don’t add new titles which have no relevance to my store because I have cancelled other titles. Realise that if I have 1200 pockets, I don’t need 1200 titles from both distributors. Listen to my allocation changes that I enter online – I do this because I know that I can sell more/less of the titles that I change, not because I have nothing better to do. Give me more control over allocations,
  86. Do not oversupply
  87. I would like to totally revamp my magazines.  Despite cancelling non performing magazines – they keep coming and they reduce my weeklies to a couple of copies. They deleted Take 5 altogether and then took 2 weeks to re-instate it.  How does this happen in todays technological world.  They sure as hell, can put my supplies on stop within the hour if I don’t pay by the 24TH!  I have to get GG to reset my minimum order of individual mags to 1 as a small store the minimum set is currently 3!  I want to be able to set a standard order for my mags ea month as I would buying product from any other supplier.
  88. TRADING TERMS NEED TO BE LOOKED AT IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT APPEARS TO BE DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIMES FOR MAGAZINES
  89. SALES HISTORY FROM XCHANGE IT NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED
  90. Use sales data/
  91. Don’t over supply, us our supplied data.
  92. Take notice of our sales data and give us the opportunity of both selection of title and amount to receive
  93. DO THE RIGHT THING
  94. Better target magazine titles and allocations.
  95. TAKE MORE NOTICE OF SALES HISTORY AND ALLOCATION REQUESTS
  96. Not over supply, ask if want new titles and supply quantity on offs.
  97. They should be rewarded by the number of mags that are sold, not the number that are distributed.  In other words, be motivated to install an effective supply process that feeds real or accurately- projected demand
  98. Use the data we send to manage numbers
  99. Supply the quantity I usually sell rather than 50% extra
  100. GIVE US THE CUSTOMER THE RIGHT TO ORDER WHAT WE WANT.
  101. Allow us to set the orders and quantities we want. Say once a month fill out online order form and submit.
  102. To not oversupply and use up our cash-flow as times are tough now for us.  To sensibly manage our supply and returns data, for eg currently if I happen to finally sell 1 obscure title, the next supply become 4 copies.  Also the supply can be too sensitive in that if a popular title doesn’t sell as much this month, the next month’s supply is cut right down.
  103. Stop sending so many titles from US and England, a lot of these sell but a lot more don’t sell and they cost a fortune in labour to process.  Ditch delayed billing it just pisses me off! Sorry but its not the money its the space and its usually for magazines that don’t sell well for me eg political novels and weddings magazines.
  104. Distributors need to use their magazine sales data to delivery both me and the publishers a better bottom line. Not just gross oversupply.
  105. Be more realistic about the amount of stock that we are actually likely to sell. Also I do like that we get replenishment stock if we are getting close to selling out of a title but it is useless receiving replenishment stock on the day it is due to come off the shelf and be returned.
  106. They could actually use the sales data we’re paying XIT to send to them so supply is better targeted.
  107. Monitor sales and allocate accordingly
  108. Reduce oversupply  Be more responsive to supply requests  Ask before sending new magazines
  109. Respect my changes to standing orders
  110. Use sales data to supply correctly, use sales data to top up if sales exceed expectations, stop sending me obscure titles that do not suit my demographic, stop doubling up on specialist titles (how many Soduko magazines do I really need?).
  111. DISTRIBUTE BASED ON ACCURATE SALES DATA THEY GET FROM XCHANGEIT
  112. PAY A BIGGER % COMMISSION FOR TIME SPENT ON SHELVES MAYBE 20% WEEKLIES 25% MONTHLY’S 35% BI-MONTHLIES 45% 1/4’S 55% LONGER TERM OR SPACE RENT
  113. NOT OVER SUPPLY
  114. take heed of ordering when it occurs rather than do as you please
  115. Stop increasing supply contrary to sales data.  Stop supplying well in excess of normal sales just because of delayed billing.
  116. Stop sending magazines we never sell, or at least in the quantity they supply us
  117. Use the numbers supplied via XIT
  118. USE THE SALES DATA AND SET SUPPLY ACCORDINGLY AND STOP USING NEWSAGENTS AS A DUMPING GROUND
  119. Reduce the volume to something more like what we could reasonably sell. If it sells we can order more. Efficient reorder process. It can be done. We are not the warehouse or distribution centre for the publisher but are treated as such. If it sits in the distributors warehouse the publisher is going to hear about it very quickly.
  120. They can stop sending us magazines that they know, and we know, won’t get sold. Each newsagent should have a contractually agreed core range with a contractually agreed volume allocation. If they want to send us non core product they should offer to us before sending. THis should be our ad hoc decision. Equally if we want to trial a title outside of the core range we should enter into a trial period inclusion in the core range.
  121. Supply what I need – plus one more copy
  122. Understand how many pockets each newsagent has available for mags and supply only enough titles to fill those.
  123. Increase commission..
  124. Get the supply correct.
  125. Use my sales data correctly to manage supply.
  126. manage allocations from past sales and send new publication supply based on sales of similar mags.
  127. Send me an allocation relative to my sales
  128. 50 YEARS AS ANEWSGAENT NO CHANGE MARGIN FOR WORK TODAY IS TO LOW TO SPEND THE TIME ETC   GG NETWORK SYSYTEM OK  TIME AMD WORK LOAD CHECKING ACCOUNTS RETURNS ETC BIG PROBLEM NO MARGIN  JOHN KLEMM MILDURA
  129. Stop over supply, let us have a say on supply of new titles, let us set our own supply.
  130. Allow us to control our supply
  131. Network sole existence is to leech off my cash flow.  After 14 years I have come to the conclusion they have no interest in my welfare or business, similar to a couple of other so called “business partners”. The Gotch supply modal is workable.   regards
  132. Stop gross oversupply; where is Nana and ANF – haven’t seen or spoken to anyone there for  years; no one comes to us;last two times I had an issue I contacted both and never had anyone come back to me; ive never had a problem early returning.  I review ever item of expected magazines prior to  receipt of stock coming.  All marked and simply  send back easily when receiving the mags    Hope this this is useful information for you    tks Carollyne, Cessnock Plaza Newsagency   johnchalmers@bigpond.com
  133. Ask me first
  134. Use sales history.
  135. set correct orders no over supply no new tittles unless they have asked permission
  136. Give reasonable supply for titles based on sales (I send data), use SBT only when sales warrant a top up, and automatically delete titles with 0 sales after 3 issues.
  137. Stop oversupplying titles.
  138. let me set supply of mags and change supply after 2 copies of new mags and leave supply at what i change it too
  139. SUPPLY BASED ON OUR SALES DATA, & GIVING US CONTROL OF SOME OF THE TITLES WE SELL
  140. STOP SENDING SO MUCH CRAP
  141. Look at supply and return figures
  142. Appropriate stock levels. Not cramming as much stock as possible on last day of month.
  143. Stop over-suppling
  144. Pay fair compensation.  Pay for the failure of a title.
12 likes

Category: magazine distribution · Magazine oversupply · magazines · Newsagency challenges · Newsagency opportunities · Newsagent representation

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amanda // Aug 14, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Mark you have raised some valid points in your article, but the only thing i read which Magazine distributors WILL read is point 112 which suggests a REDUCTION in commission on weekly titles…… this would have to be the DUMBEST suggestion I have heard in over twenty years retailing as a newsagent.

    The only direction commission should be heading is North, not south!

    2 likes

  • 2 Carol // Aug 14, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Most likely lots of good points but I stopped reading because you have taken too long to make your point. Your cranky and you have raged on but will the distributors like me shut down and not finish reading stuff they already know?

    3 likes

  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Aug 14, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    All 144 points are from newsagents who took the survey, not me.

    1 likes

  • 4 Dennis Robertson // Aug 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Mark, great job and thanks for the opportunity to participate in a survey that provides feedback to major distributors. Since terminating my relationship with associations a while ago, this Newsagency Blog is almost the only means (apart from singular direct contact) that I have for getting a message across. It has served me well, with positive results on a number of occasions.

    Amanda, a possible explanation for #112’s commission comment is that they are a Distribution Newsagent only, in which case it makes sense.

    btw, it’s not me, mine is #82. :)

    4 likes

  • 5 stacey // Aug 14, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Some valid points. Unfortunately I don’t think they will take note until it is too little too late. My store had 1000 pockets when we took over nearly 2 years ago. In my time we have culled down to 700 however bulky fixtures still consume 63% of my store. Now having assessed my End of Year figures we are officially making more out of our gifts that take up 8%. This is a no brainer, the mags have to go as we are returning more than 50% every month, they just keep sending the crap. Obviously more modern fixtures will make the space more efficient but I’m now looking to go to 500 with flexibility to decrease. If the magazine margin was in the 40% range I would not do this but I cannot wait to have the room to sell items that actually make money :-)

    2 likes

  • 6 Bill W // Aug 14, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    They call our supply allocations for a reason…they are not sales forecasts but our share of an over inflated circulation number use to sell advertising under false pretences.
    The Dist. have excel analysts not account managers.

    2 likes

  • 7 Jenny // Aug 14, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    Today I actually followed the prompt from Bauer to set my supply for diaries, thought I’d zero out some and cut others but it would only let me increase so what’s the point of this whole exercise?

    Not my supply but theirs!!!

    Waste of time, I am still going to get more than I want but this year I will early return when they arrive not try and find space for stock I believe will not sell or fill drawers waiting for correct return date.

    1 likes

  • 8 Mark Fletcher // Aug 15, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Magazines remain vital to newsagencies. Anyone cutting space needs to do so in a considered planned out way. Know what you are doing and where you are taking your business.

    0 likes

  • 9 June // Aug 15, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Yesterday my staff (2) and I took from 8.30
    til 1.30pm to do magazine
    stock. (including unwrapping, stickering, putaways, putting on shelves, removing old copies and topping for returns and then scanning and packing returns for both GG and Bauer.
    That is 15 man hours (to be paid for except I don’t get paid).

    Today I got soft toys, cards, wrap and glassware and candles and it took me 5 minutes to arrive the labels for the same and the merchandiser (JS) did the cards and the wrap (at their expense not mine for which I am very grateful) and the candles took about 1 hour to clean the shelves, label the stock and put it up.
    My point being that mags are far too labour intensive and they are costing us far too much money – I think John from a
    large distribution company here in SA said at one time that he was only making 5% on mags as he had to do all the handling, stickering, delivering, picking up returns and handling returns for his 12.5%
    so I expect that I would be only making 10% instead of my 25% margin after paying out for the labour to do the work.
    It was disappointing to have a distributor tell Mark that the blog was too “longwinded”. What a pity he/she didn’t read all the way to see that there is a constancy in the problem through all the
    newsagencies and that is OVERSUPPLY.
    They ignore us and the work that Mark has done at their peril because a lot of us are looking elsewhere for product for our shelves which is both rewarding for us and our customers.

    1 likes

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